The ACLU of Utah has learned that the State of Utah is requesting comment from the public on new administrative rules about who can be admitted to juvenile detention facilities, and for what reasons.
YOUR Public Comment is Needed on New Juvenile Detention Rules
These new administrative rules are part of a juvenile justice reform effort that was recently adopted in the form of HB239 during the 2017 Legislative Session. The ACLU of Utah was supportive of the legislation, sponsored by Rep. Lowry Snow (R-Saint George) and Sen. Daniel Thatcher (R-West Valley City). The reforms aren't quite as dramatic as we had hoped, but we do believe that the changes will have a positive impact on the lives of Utah kids and their families.
Specifically, these new rules relate to the guidelines for admission to juvenile detention facilities in Utah. The proposed amendment includes the following changes:
- Youth can be admitted for any class A misdemeanor against a person.
- Youth under age 12 can no longer be admitted unless they are charged with a violent felony offense.
- Youth can no longer be admitted for failure to appear at court hearings within the past 12 months.
Our hope is that these new guidelines will mean FEWER CHILDREN in juvenile detention facilities, especially for low-level "status" offenses that pose no real risk to public safety. Detention - even for just a few days - can be incredibly traumatic for young people. The less we use it, the better our system will work, and the better our kids will turn out.
Public comment is critically important to creating policy that WORKS for our kids. We hope our supporters throughout the state will find time to give comment, and can easily do so by attending public meetings in the cities below. At these meetings, members of the public will also have opportunities to ask questions of several key government officials, including Rep. Snow and various high-level administrators from the Department of Juvenile Justie Services.
PUBLIC MEETINGS WILL BE HELD IN:
SAINT GEORGE on Monday, July 10, 2017 - 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. - City Council Building - 175 N. 200 E.
SALT LAKE CITY on Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. - Main Branch SLC Library: 210 E. 400 S. (Conference Room, Level 4)
LOGAN on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - 7 p.m.- 9 p.m. - Logan Library: 255 N. Main Street (Bridger Room)